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    Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivers a speech in the main hall of the Government College University in Lahore, Pakistan November 25, 2016.

    UK's Johnson Denies Making Comments About Support for EU Freedom of Movement

    © REUTERS / Caren Firouz
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    UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson denied on Thursday that he made comments, in which he had allegedly expressed support for freedom of movement in the European Union, which is at odds with London's line aiming to maintain strict control over immigration.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier on Thursday, the Sky News reported that Johnson told at least four EU ambassadors in private talks that he supported the freedom of movement, adding that the United Kingdom had been more affected by free movement of people than other EU member states.

    "I am afraid I said absolutely no such thing and as you know perfectly well I have been a long-standing supporter of immigration and what I said, very clearly, to that group of ambassadors — I think it was at a breakfast meeting — was that immigration had been a good thing for the UK in many respects but that it had got out of control and that we needed to take back control," Johnson told Sky News.

    The UK authorities have repeatedly expressed reluctance to stick to EU key freedom of movement principle, stressing that the issue of border security would be a priority at the Brexit negotiations.

    During the "Leave" campaign Johnson emphasized that some immigration was useful, though free movement of people posed a problem.

    On June 23, the United Kingdom voted on referendum to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations.


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